Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 2 020 million
LEADER + aims at encouraging the design and the implementation of innovative development strategies for rural areas by the establishment of active partnerships operating at the local level.


On 21 June 1999, the Council has adopted a package of new Structural Funds regulations, known as the Agenda 2000, for the 2000-2006 programming period. The new regulation is based on the concentration of the structural actions on three priorities and the reduction in the number of Community Initiatives from 13 to 4.
The new initiatives contained in Agenda 2000 are the following:

_INTERREG, which aims to stimulate cross-border, transnational and inter-regional cooperation;
_LEADER, which promotes rural development through the initiatives of local action groups;
_EQUAL, which provides for the development of new ways of combating all forms of discrimination and inequality as regards access to the labour market;
_URBAN, which encourages the economic and social regeneration of towns, cities and suburbs in crisis.
LEADER + is one of the four Community Initiatives implemented under the Structural Funds for the period 2000-2006. The four Initiatives will receive an allocation of 5.35% of the Structural Fund credits for the period 2000-2006. The total Community contribution to LEADER + in this period will be EUR 2020 million, financed by the EAGGF-Guidance Section.

Instead of being a simple continuation of the existing LEADER II Initiative, LEADER + is a more ambitious Initiative aimed at encouraging and supporting high quality and ambitious integrated strategies for local rural development. It will also put a strong emphasis on co-operation and networking between rural areas.


LEADER + comprises three strands:

_ Strand 1: support for integrated and innovative development strategies for rural areas. These strategies are based on a partnership between those involved at local level and on the " bottom up" approach which gives priority to initiatives put forward by local people;
_ Strand 2 : support for interregional and transnational co-operation;
_ Strand 3 : networking all EU rural areas - whether or not they receive LEADER + funding as well as for all those involved in rural development.

All rural areas in the European Union may participate in the LEADER + initiative. However, a limited number of regions may receive financial support under strands 1 and 2.
The beneficiaries of LEADER + financial assistance are " Local Action Groups". These groups are made up of partners from different socio-economic environments within the region concerned.
The ex-ante evaluation is the responsibility of the authorities preparing the programme under the LEADER + initiative. It shall be performed by independent evaluators and should be conducted in accordance with recognized evaluation practice. Independence implies that the evaluator must not be directly involved in conceiving, implementing, managing or financing the programme. Public institutions are not excluded if they fulfil the criteria of independence and competence, e.g., in regard of up-to-date evaluation practice.


The evaluation of LEADER + involves several levels of implementation and target definition:

At the European level, there are a series of overall and specific objectives that must be considered when implementing the programme. The way in which these objectives have been taken into account in the elaboration of the programme makes part of the ex ante evaluation;
At national/regional level, for each of the programmes, there must be a definition of the specific objectives for the implementation of LEADER +. These objectives which are specific to the programmes presented under the initiative, and which aim at specific problems of the territory envisaged, are different from, even though complementary to the objectives of the Community initiative.
Finally, the objectives defined at the" Local Action Groups" level should comply with the objectives at the two former levels. Insofar as they are reflected in the selection criteria formulated in the programme, they make part of the ex-ante evaluation.
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top